The Karanambu Trust
History

Tiny McTurkAccording to Macusi Indian legend the unusual formation of ironstone rocks at Karanambu landing stage are potent warning of what can happen if you ignore the prophecies of the local peiman (witchdoctor). The men of Karanambu attended a celebratory dancing and drinking session in another village in defiance of his warning and on their return they became these distinctive stones and the village where the celebration was held sank into the forest and became a pond.

Tiny McTurk and his wife, Connie, chose this spot on a wide bend in the Rupununi River to build a house and a depot for his balata business in 1927 because of its proximity to the river; the bend in the river and its adjacent sandbank provided a natural deep water bay allowing access for boats even in the dry season but most important of all the flat topped laterite outcrop at Karanambu remains well above flood level in the wet season when the river can rise up to 40 feet.

Connie McTurkSurvival in the early days at Karanambu required a high level of hunting skills. McTurk hunted and fished in the traditional Indian way using poisoned arrows and true to his Indian teacher would never shoot unless certain of a kill. He was extremely knowledgeable about wildlife and in the 1950’s was instrumental in helping young David Attenborough, Gerald Durrell and others make some of the earliest wildlife programs and collections of animals for London and other zoos.


Diane McTurkTheir daughter, Diane McTurk, took over the ranch and established a tourism business now Karanambu Lodge Inc. In 1997 The Karanambu Trust was established with the objective of conserving and protecting the unique and diverse habitat of the Karanambu Rupununi Wetlands and in particular some of the rare and biologically important species that inhabit this part of Guyana. Much of the Trust's current work involves gathering data on the local populations of species and educating local communities, including children about the benefits of conserving wildlife habitats.